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So you think you have a helipad - Texas Department of State


									So you think you                                                                    First, try and
have a helipad?                                                                     click on AIRPORTS and enter the
by Ben Guttery                                                                      name of your heliport, town, or
Federal Aviation Administration                                                     city. You may need to go to the
                                                                                    advanced search feature. Another
    It’s just outside. You’ve seen it.                                              system is operated by FAA’s 5010
Even seen a helicopter on it. Yes,                                                  support consultant and is at www.
there is definitely a helipad here,                                        Again, enter
but is it legal?                                                                    the city and state to return all the
    The Federal Aviation                 photo by Alan Baker                        registered sites. This latter system
Administration (FAA) looks                                                          lists all of the official landing
after aviation safety, including         send a letter indicating any issues        site information. If you find your
licensing of pilots, mechanics and       with the site. If the site is already in   record has some errors, print the
aircraft, and controlling air traffic.   use or about to open, we send the          form, handwrite corrections, sign
However, FAA is also responsible         owner an Airport Master Record             it and send it to us. We will get the
for studying the establishment           (FAA Form 5010) to complete.               data updated.
of airports including hospital           This is our official source of                  What if you aren’t on one
heliports. The terms airport,            data on ownership and use of the           of those lists? Don’t panic. Just
heliport, and helipad are used           heliport. Most importantly, this is        call our office to see if your
interchangeably as places to land        the step that allows us to request         helipad has ever been studied.
an aircraft.                             a location identifier for your             Frequently, the first part of the
    Federal Aviation Regulations,        heliport. A location identifier is a       process is completed, but the
specifically Part 157 (14 CFR            code for the airport just like the         actual registration filing has been
157), requires you to notify the         ones on your luggage tags (AUS,            forgotten. No registration equals no
FAA at least 90 days before any          DFW, SAT, IAH, HOU). Having                helipad.
construction, alteration, activation,    a location identifier will assist the           Using registered helipads has
deactivation, or change to the status    helicopter operators in filing FAA         been a focus area of FAA’s recent
or use of an airport or heliport.        flight plans to your hospital. It          efforts on helicopter EMS (HEMS)
    The notice described above           also puts the facility in our official     activities. Our inspectors who work
must be done by completing FAA           database that goes into onboard            with the air ambulance operators
Form 7480-1, Notice of Landing           navigation equipment to aid in             have been reviewing the lists of
Area Proposal. You can find this         navigation to your facility. This          hospitals they regularly serve to
form on the internet by searching        service is free.                           ensure they have been approved by
for “FAA Form 7480.” The form                 There are many hospitals out          FAA. We’ve found a lot that have
is one page long with another page       there that have not had FAA look           never been studied. Many have
of instructions. Also required is a      at their helipads, even though there       been in existence so long everyone
specific USGS topographic map            is a regulation that requires this.        just thought they were registered.
marked with the heliports location.      However, FAA’s interest is more                 Regardless of where you are,
    During the notice process, FAA       in safety than in enforcing this           we can help you get it resolved.
conducts an aeronautical study           regulation. For your protection, you       If you have any questions, please
to look at the impact of nearby          want to have a letter from the FAA         contact Ben Guttery, senior
objects. We also send an inspector       saying your heliport is safe and all       program manager, Texas Airports
out to look at the site to ensure a      the proper paperwork in place.             Development Office, FAA, Fort
helicopter can safely arrive and              There are a couple ways to            Worth, Texas; phone 817-222-
depart from the landing site. Once       confirm your helipad exists,               5614; fax 817-222-5989; email
the heliport is studied by FAA, we       officially. Both are on the internet.

                                                                                      September/October 2007 Texas EMS Magazine 7

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